Category Archives: Recipes

{Allergy Friendly} ‘Butter’Cream Frosting

Allergy Friendly 'Butter'Cream Frosting

Last week I posted about a delicious vegan chocolate cake that is simple and delicious. However, there is no sense in talking about cupcakes if you aren’t going to mention the frosting. As my dad always says, the cake is just the vehicle to transport the frosting. In other words: it’s all about the frosting!

This is a very easy variation on the American buttercream that I’ve posted about before. The difference being that we’re going to adjust the ingredients to be allergy friendly/vegan, and ta da! We’ll have a great, inexpensive frosting that even the most allergic child can eat.

My frosting is all about the perfect ratio, which is 2:1 powdered sugar to butter. In this recipe, which I’ve halved from the original, you need 1 lb. powdered sugar and 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) of butter. Of course, we can’t use real butter, so use your favorite substite. My favorite is a little hard to find but when I do find it, I stock up on it. It’s called Best Life Buttery Baking Sticks, and I’ve only found it at Walmart. They also sell it as a spread, but don’t use that for baking.

There are other options as well; Nucoa has a mild margarine-y taste (and trans-fat), and I hate the taste of Earth Balance (plus it has flax and my husband is allergic to flax of all things), but if you’re used to the taste, it’s fine to use. I don’t think it looks right, it has this weird transclucent quality… anyway. I’m sure that’s just me. :D {If you don’t have food allergies, just know that finding a margarine without any milk products is hard to do, so when you find one that tastes decent and is safe for your child(ren), it’s blog worthy!} 

Hmm, I got off topic on a margarine rant. Where was I?

Oh yes. The recipe! One of the tricks to any successful butter-based frosting is beating your butter/margarine and powdered sugar together very well. Keep that in mind as you begin. Here’s the recipe!

Allergy Friendly ‘Butter’Cream Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Frosts 1 dozen cupcakes liberally

Allergy Friendly ‘Butter’Cream Frosting

A smooth and creamy frosting that NO ONE will guess is dairy-free!


  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) margarine substitute like Best Life Buttery Baking Sticks
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/8-1/4 c. vanilla or *plain soy milk
  • *if using plain soy milk, add 1 t. vanilla
  • Optional: 1/2 c. dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips (like Guittard), melted and cooled


  1. Add half the powdered sugar and the margarine into a mixer.
  2. Mix on low until the powdered sugar is incorporated, then mix on medium for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar, salt, and cocoa powder; mix on low until incorporated, then medium for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add 1/8 c. of soy milk, mix on low 30 seconds then medium for 1-2 minutes.
  5. If necessary add remaining 1/8 c. soy milk.
  6. Mix on low for 30 seconds then medium for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Pour in cool but still melted chocolate chips. Mix for another 2 minutes until creamy and smooth.
  8. Note: to make this a vanilla frosting, omit cocoa powder and chocolate chips. If desired, substitute white chocolate chips.

{Vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

WAIT! By vegan, I just mean “dairy and egg free.” Don’t run away. Don’t be afraid. This is a NORMAL recipe. It’s got REGULAR ingredients, that can be found in YOUR cupboard. No tofu involved, I swear. Also: easiest chocolate cake recipe ever. And did I mention it’s reallyreally good?

It only figures that I went to all that effort of mastering a delicious chocolate cake recipe, only to have to go back and start learning how to bake for Abigail, with no milk or eggs (and no almonds, thank you). As a young toddler, it wasn’t that hard to trick her into eating something… similiar. I mean, I still give her bagels and call them “donuts” while the rest of us nosh down on the good stuff. But as she gets older, the kid gets wiser.

I love to bake. But it’s got to be easy, no fuss, and I don’t want to do it twice if I can avoid it.
And it has to be delicious.
Otherwise, what’s the point?

I won’t waste time mentioning how many dozens of cupcakes I threw away, trying weird variations of recipes. Finally my sister in law brought this ‘vegan cupcake’ to a family party for my sister and her milk-allergic dad. It’s so simple. By far my easiest cake recipe. Just dump in the dry ingredients, follow with wet.

Unfortunately I didn’t think ahead to measure my ingredients for the strawberry frosting. It’s basically my recipe for Rich Chocolate Frosting, but I omitted the vanilla and cocoa. I used strawberries as my liquid instead of milk and just added strawberries until it looked about right. :D

The recipe comes from the amazingly fantastic

{Vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 24 Cupcakes

Serving Size: 24

{Vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes


  • 3 c. white flour
  • 2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 t. white vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cupcake pans with 24 liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water. Mix together until smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared cupcake liners and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Frozen Cookie Dough

For the sake of people in my life who think that eating raw cookie dough is akin to ingesting toxic waste, I will not tell you about my love for cookie dough. I will also not tell you about how weird some people are. :)

But I will tell you that having frozen cookie dough in your freezer is the best.thing.ever. You want a midnight snack with no effort? Pop a couple of cookies in the oven. Because eating them raw is delicious nasty.

Quick family home evening treat? Bake up a whole tray. Unexpected visitors? Throw some in, and look like the star hostess you aren’t. Perhaps they will overlook your messy living room if you serve them cookies fresh from the oven. It’s worth a try, right?

I’m not going to hash over how to make cookies. In fact, I already have. You can check out my favorite cookie recipe, as well as the dairy and egg free version. I will tell you that the dairy and egg free version doesn’t work quite as well in the freezer (Egg Replacer works best immediately), but it’ll do okay in a pinch.

Today we’re going to talk more about the technique to perfect frozen cookie dough. Not only am I a bit of a cookie dough fanatic (not to eat… just to look at… and smell… or something) but I did a short stint as a baker for Lion House Bakery. They bake cookies, but they also freeze a lot of cookie dough to send out at their cafes in Deseret Book. Hence that fresh-baked-cookie-smell once you walk in the door that encourages you to buy more books!

The trick, as with almost all frozen foods, is flash freezing. You don’t need any fancy equipment for this, just a freezer, a cookie sheet, and a *cookie scoop if you have one. (If you don’t, it’s no big deal, trust me.)

Mix up your cookie dough. I like to do a double batch because that means some to bake and eat, and some to save for later! Then you’re going to scoop up your cookie dough and put it on your cookie sheet. I like to have parchment paper on my cookie sheet, but I was out, and it works either way.

Don’t spread your cookies out like you’re going to bake them, put them right up close to each other. I scoop my dough out in 4×3 rows, to get a dozen in each little section. If you just scoop your cookie dough into a Ziploc bag, the dough will freeze into one big lumpy ball. Trust me, that will not bake well.

Then put your cookie dough, as is, in the freezer. You can throw some plastic wrap over it if you want, but I usually don’t bother. Keep it in there for a few hours or overnight. Try not to forget it like I have done on occasion. :)

The next day, pull out your cookie sheet.
(If it’s been in a deep freezer, I recommend using hot pads to grab the pans, those metal pans get cold!)
Pull the cookie dough off the cookie sheet and throw them in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Then place them back into the freezer, and they’ll be ready when you need them.

When you are ready to bake, just pull them out of the bag and place them on a cookie sheet 2 inches a part. Oh, preheat your oven first. :) 350 degrees. The best part of these cookies is that they bake up fine even frozen. Keep an eye on them and bake them for about 15-20 minutes. Pull them out when they are just starting to get brown on the bottoms. The tops can even look a little jiggly still, but the sides should be set. Let them sit on the pan for about 5 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack until cool.

Nice Cream Pie

Note on the note below: I featured this post last year, and this year, Rebecca requested it for her birthday treat. Today is her birthday, so I thought it would be fun to feature it again. Also… pictures of the quilt will be forthcoming. As soon as I get it done. Now back to sewing!
Happy Birthday, Rebecca! We love you so much!
Note: this post is a “flashback” post from my previous life blog, Cheep Eats & Sweets. But we ate it again and the compliments were as sweet as the ice cream, so I thought it was worth sharing again!

I made this ice cream pie for my husband’s family a couple of weeks ago. Despite its simplicity, they raved about it, so I decided to make it again when my stepkids were around so they could enjoy it too. I don’t remember why, but on that day we were all just snippy with one another. No major fighting or anything, but the kids kept getting annoyed with each other, Gary and I kept getting annoyed with each other, and we kept getting annoyed with the kids. All around, everyone was annoyed.

I had whipped this simple dessert up the day before and was prepared to serve it that night. Before I served it though, I told everyone who wanted a piece that they must say something nice about everyone at the table. Jordan went first, and, thinking hard, came up with something nice to say about everyone. Then around the table we went, including little Nicole. So this dessert was dubbed Nice Cream Pie by our family, and I think it’s a tradition we’ll stick with. When I make this pie, you better have nice things to say if you want a piece! (Oh, and it was amazing what a transformation our family went through… the snippiness ended and everyone was happy and laughing by the end of dessert. And I’m sure the sugar rush had nothing to do with that!)

I’m actually a little embarrassed to post this recipe because it’s so simple! But somehow the magical combination transforms into a lovely, amazing little dessert! The recipe is at the bottom of the post, but to start you’re going to need about 2/3 a package of Oreos. This will give you plenty to snack on while you work. That’s essential! Throw them into your food processor.
Note: my processor is really really small, so it’s likely that your Oreos will not come to the top like mine do! Okay, process and pulse and whatever else ya gotta do until it looks like this:

Mmm, crumbly Oreo goodness. Keep the kids out of the kitchen for this recipe.
Actually, this is a simple recipe that kids could definitely help with! But then they’d watch you sneaking all those Oreos, and they’d want in on the action.

Melt about 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and pour it into your processor as you pulse. Or just dump it in and pulse after, should you have a baby on your hip. It doesn’t matter!
Now you’re going to want to press those crumbs into a pie pan.

Not gonna lie, it gets messy. So before you pour them into the pan, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or something). This way you’ll be able to save those crumbs for later.
Okay, now you can press the crumbs down.

Now your pie crust is made. If you have time, put it in the freezer for a few minutes. The ice cream won’t smudge your neat little crust.

You got your ice cream out to melt right? What? I didn’t mention that? Okay, hurry and get it out and wait till it’s all melty. If it’s still sealed let it sit in the sun for a few minutes, that’ll soften the sucker up. Now when it’s nice and melty–but not soupy–glob it into your pie crust. Smooth it around till it looks pretty. You only need about 3/4 of a 1.5 qt. of ice cream.

Can we talk ice cream for a minute? (I have personally never said “no” to that question.) I used a Breyer’s All Natural Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. But only because it was on sale. In truth, it was delicious, but you could use any mint ice cream you want. Oh, you think mint ice cream tastes like toothpaste? (You know who you are.) Then try something else! The next time I’m making this pie, I’m going to try a chocolate flavor, maybe with cookie crumbles. Cookie dough would be fab, and Oreo ice cream is an obvious choice. Homemade ice cream of any flavor would be divine. Customize this pie so your family will say nice things to get a slice!

Okay, back to directions. I like to freeze the pie at this step. A few hours, or overnight, until it’s nice and firm will be good. Now you’re going to need light whipped cream in the can. Well, I suppose it doesn’t have to be light. Or from a can. Technically, it could even be Cool Whip. To be perfectly honest, Gary and I have been addicted to light whipped cream in the can ever since I made this the first time. We’re to the point we’re just buying it to eat it plain! I do like it in the can though because it’s easier to get fancy with the can than Cool Whip. Once your pie is frozen, decorate with whipped cream and some of those leftover Oreo crumbs. Freeze until the whipped cream is firm (optional). You may want to let it soften 10 minutes before you serve it. And don’t forget: say nice things before you indulge!

Nice Cream Pie
2/3 pkg. Oreos
3 T. butter, melted
4-5 c. ice cream, very soft
whipped cream in a can

Crush Oreos in a food processor. Pulse in melted butter and press Oreos into pie pan. Save extra crumbs.
Spread ice cream in pie pan, freeze 4 hours or overnight.
Decorate with whipped cream and extra Oreo crumbs.
PS – If I wasn’t so swamped with quilting, I’d make this dairy free by omitting the butter (or using a substitute), using soy ice cream, and perhaps trying out this coconut whipped cream I found on Pinterest. If you try the dairy free version, I’d love to hear how it went!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Mmm, the Holidays! It’s the one time of year we happily loosen our belts and indulge ourselves in the yummy food we’ve been withholding ourselves from all year! Or maybe it’s the one time a year we happily admit we eat stuff like homemade mashed potatoes?
This recipe is, of course, simple. You peel and quarter the potatoes, and put them in a pot of cold water. Add some salt and bring to a boil, cooking them until tender. Drain the water.
 The next step is the trick to creamy, practically lump-free potatoes: put them in your mixer! Use a stand mixer or a handheld mixer and beat them. Add some butter, continuing to beat. Then add some milk and beat until the potatoes are creamy and fluffy. I like to add a little salt and pepper, too. I had no idea how simple homemade mashed potatoes could be until recently. Even better, potatoes are ridiculously cheap as of late. I’ve seen sales where you can get 10 lbs. for less than a dollar in my area!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1-1/2 pounds baking potatoes (such as russet or Yukon gold), peeled and quartered
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons milk
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Butter or margarine (optional)
  1. In a medium saucepan cook potatoes and the ½ teaspoon salt, covered, in enough boiling water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender; drain.
  2. Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer on low speed.
  3. Add butter.
  4. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. Gradually beat in enough milk to make mixture light and fluffy.
  6. If desired, serve with butter.

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